Parasite ★★★★★

CRITERION CHALLENGE 2021 — WATCHING 52 CRITERION MOVIES IN ONE WEEK 

#48 — Foreign Language Oscar Winner

Parasite is one of the more recent additions to the criterion collection. I was honestly surprised how quickly movies can be added to the collection, but Parasite is very deserving of it. 

Parasite was first on my radar in the summer of 2019. I had heard some rumblings of it through film Twitter but didn’t think much of it. Only knowing the film by its title, I assumed it was some artistic South Korean horror movie. That year, I went to Telluride film festival (something I talked about in a lot of my other movie reviews) and Parasite was playing there at the festival that year. I was intrigued enough to go watch Parasite at the festival and even inquired about it with the Netflix staff who were taking care of me there and were accommodating with all my needs but unfortunately my schedule was too busy, as each time it was screening I was scheduled to be at an event. BUT, my weekend wasn’t a complete Parasite-less weekend though. While at Telluride, you bump into many different stars who just wander around the town. Like I peed in a bathroom urinal next to Antonio Banderas, I saw Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones get silly and have an impromptu photoshoot with a black SUV while I was waiting for My grandpa who was at a party, I kept running into the Safdie Brothers and Adam Sandler at every place I went to... but my favorite celeb sighting that weekend was when I was eating lunch and Bong Joon-Ho and his crew were sitting at the table next to me. This was exciting for me because Bong had directed Snowpiercer which was a movie I fell in love with. And I had a rule that I don’t go up to celebrities if I see one but I seriously was contemplating going up to Bong to say hi. And I thought that the fact my grandpa was with me could’ve made it easier to introduce myself to Bong as well. But I sort of regret not doing that but I probably would’ve humiliated myself anyway, not knowing what to say. But I saw him a few times over the course of the weekend and he seemed to be enjoying his time at Telluride. I was disappointed I didn’t get to see Parasite that weekend, but the day I left, on a Monday, they had a 9am screening and it got so packed that they had to turn away 600 people. 600 PEOPLE AT A 9AM SCREENING ON THE LAST DAY OF THE FESTIVAL WERE TOLD TO LEAVE. Monday is typically the day the festival slows down in viewership because it’s its last day, so fewer people are there. So, when I heard that, it got me even more amped to see this movie. 

Thankfully I live in LA, so I got to see the movie a few months later at an early screening. I still went in trying to know as little as possible, which was the best decision. I remember at times being both baffled and even slightly confused at where the movie was trying to go and then being in total shock. And for me, that is incredibly rare. If you follow me on Letterboxd, you know I watch a ton a movies to the point where it becomes pretty easy for me to predict the outcomes of movies because most movies use the same three act writing structure that makes it easy to predict what’s going on, but Parasite was honestly one of the few times I can say I was unable to predict any of its story reveals. 

In today’s society, it’s incredibly rare for a movie to be universally liked. Even when there’s a movie that gets rave reviews, typically people will start hating the movie JUST because it got great reviews or they’ll consider it overrated because it didn’t live up to their expectations because of the hype. But with Parasite, it feels like the first movies for as long as I can remember, that is universally liked. Sure, there’ll be an occasional person who won’t like it, because it’s impossible for every single person in the world to like one movie, but basically what I’m saying is that I’ve never seen a movie get as much praise on such a high scale as Parasite has in the past year. It’s truly remarkable. And it’ll be interesting to see how it holds up through time too.

Jake liked these reviews

All